Understanding your energy bill
24th January 2020
When it comes to reading your energy bill, you’re probably one of two people: a skimmer or a reader.
If you’re a skimmer, you want the basic information displayed in a format that is quickly and easily understandable (how much do I owe and when?). Readers, on the other hand, want all the details – an understanding of each element that went into making up the current month’s charges.
We’ve compiled a handy guide to help you understand your energy bill, regardless of whether you want to jump to the important bits or delve into the nitty-gritty.
Just the highlights, please
The phone is ringing, work is piling up and the energy bill has just landed on your desk. What are the key pieces of information you should be reading?
1. Invoice type and period
Quickly skim this section to understand whether the bill is for electricity or gas, and which date range is included.
2. Total amount to pay
This is the amount you owe, after any credits or past payments have been received. You should also be able to see when the payment will be taken from your account if you pay by direct debit.
3. Your recent usage
You can quickly spot check how your energy usage compares to previous months by reviewing your consumption graph. To make this section as useful as possible, remember to submit periodic meter readings if you don’t have a smart meter.
Dive into the details
Your bill breakdown section will show you exactly what energy usage amounts and costs were used to calculate your bill.
You should see a start and end meter reading for each register of your meter, as well as an indication of whether this is an actual meter reading or an estimate.
If you have more than one meter at your site, you will see multiple meter readings.
There are several different types of charges you can expect to see listed out on your bill:
- Energy costs – you can see exactly how much you are being charged per kWh for both your gas and electricity consumption
- Standing charge – this is the fixed cost of providing energy to your business. It covers things like meter readers, maintenance and some government initiatives. Standing charge is typically charged at a price per day.
- Other charges – a large portion of your energy bill is made up of other charges, collectively known in the energy industry as non-commodity charges. These costs are typically set by third parties like government agencies such as DECC and Ofgem, National Grid or the distribution network, and your supplier is responsible for collecting these costs from you.
3. Contract details
Your supplier will include information on your contract end date and your relevant date. Your relevant date is the latest date you can request to terminate your contract when the fixed term period ends. You can still terminate after the relevant date, but your termination date may be adjusted past the contract end date.
If you have any questions about your energy bill or your energy consumption, you should get in touch with your supplier. They should be able to answer your questions and resolve any inaccuracies. They may also be able to help you understand if your energy consumption is higher than would be expected.
Above all, making sure you provide your supplier with regular meter readings is the best way to keep your bills accurate. You can submit readings online, via email or by phone. If submitting meter readings is a hassle, contact your supplier to request a smart meter.
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